Birthday party conundrums: Your child wants to invite more kids than your house can hold, OR the idea of cleaning your house twice, BP (Before Party) and ATSGDYHP (After Ten-Second-Graders-Destroy-Your-House Party) makes you tired, OR you want something different than the standard pizza, movie, sleepover event.
Never fear, help is here. The following off-the-beaten path options for in-and-around Seattle party venues will have your kids racing, skating, sipping, sewing, gaming, cooking … well, you get the idea.
Traxx Racing Located in Mukilteo, Traxx is speedy fun for all ages. Kids ages 3 to 10 can zoom on an upstairs kids' track, while the 11 to 13 year old set can race go-karts on the main level adult track. Party packages can include helmets and race suits, old school video games, air hockey, Velcro and climbing walls, bouncy houses, tire changing games and more. It's well worth the half hour drive.
All Together Skate Park Seattle's only indoor skateboarding park, this facility, located in South Wallingford, is 6,900 square feet of ledges, quarter pipes, banks, stairs, rails and a vertical wall. Boards, helmets and pads are there to rent, and the venue is available for parties before opening hours (noon) on the weekends. Instructors are also available for hire for said parties, which is extremely helpful if you haven't a clue about skateboarding.
UW HUB Bowling Who knew that a 12-lane bowling alley was situated so conveniently in mid-Seattle? OK, well, I did. And now, you know, too. Lanes, tables and a party room can be reserved in advance. Rental shoes start as small as a toddler 10, and if you tire of bowling, there are arcade games, Wii, X-Box 360, PlayStation 3, pool and ping-pong. Parking can be tricky, but the Metro bus goes right through campus.
Queen Mary Tea Room Crumpets and cucumber sandwiches, party dresses and tiaras, jam and scones: This proper English tea party is perfectly lovely for kids who are good at sitting still. Located in Ravenna, the Queen Mary is bursting with porcelain, lace and floral fabrics and is an elegant venue for ages 8 and older. Be prepared with coloring, Operator and other games that can be played tableside.
GameTruck Seattle This party is held AT your home, but not IN your home. GameTruck's mobile theater rolls up in front of your house with room for at least 15 friends and all of the latest and greatest games and consoles. Kids pile into the truck for some friendly gaming competition, and you stay outside with your sanity and soak in a little vitamin D and the sounds of success.
Made Sewing If you have crafty kids, this Greenwood studio is going to be their nirvana. Choose a birthday theme or craft and watch the creation begin. Kids will learn fun machine sewing skills at a festive event and leave with a finished project and an awesome sense of accomplishment.
Frog Legs Kids' Culinary Academy Mount Baker neighborhood is home to this brilliant baking (and cooking) concept. Cakes, cupcakes, smoothies, pizza and more can be created during two-hour parties in this warm, bright, colorful kitchen. Kids will learn about planning meals, co-operation in cooking, organization and patience. But at the end, they'll get to have their cake and eat it too.
Sandbox Sports For the winter birthday kids who wish they could have outside parties, Georgetown's answer to the beach is the next best thing. Kids can play in a giant sandbox or try out beach ball volleyball, and if they still yearn for more, there's badminton, bocce ball, ladder golf, ping-pong and foosball. Who cares if it's raining outside?
Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood Pools Head north and north again for these two awesome pool party venues. Rent half or all of the Mountlake Terrace pool for some splashy fun. Tubes, mats, life jackets and more are included. Kids can float along a lazy river, cavort through spray toys or slip n' slide to the deep end. The Lynnwood Recreation Center also boasts a river ride plus water cannons, gigantic dumping buckets, spraying arches and two twisty water slides. Both locations are guaranteed crowd pleasers. And if pools are your passion, be sure to check out the many Seattle Parks & Recreation Centers' swimming pools, which are also available to rent for parties.
If your preferred party place is far from home, consider gathering your guests for a bus trip there and back. Metro's Trip Planner makes logistics super easy, you won't have to deal with traffic, plus you'll get extra kid bonus points for the extended party time on wheels.
This article was updated October 2017. Photos courtesy of the venues.